Mardi Gras Weekend Gears Up With Music, Parades, Greased Poles

Happy (almost) Mardi Gras weekend, folks. Are you all rested for Druids and Nyx tonight, Muses tomorrow, and a whole lotta music and “do whatcha wanna” revelry throughout?

Read on for a slew of options, and click here for some Carnival memories from local musicians and community figures.

Are you ready for all that jelly? The 43rd Annual Greasing of the Poles, that raunchy French Quarter tradition, slides on down at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Friday, February 8 at 10 a.m. This year’s “Celebrity Greaser” is actor, producer, director and author Laura Cayouette (Django Unchained), and live music will include performances by trumpeter Leroy Jones and his Original Hurricane Brass Band. After the parades Friday night, Prytania Bar hosts a bill featuring Feral Foster, Gold and the Rush, Coyotes and Hurray for the Riff Raff.

New Orleans fiddle phenom Amanda Shaw will be the first ever Grand Marshall for the Krewe of Iris parade February 9 down St. Charles Ave. Founded in 1917, the Krewe of Iris is the oldest and the largest of all female Carnival krewes in New Orleans. Shaw will also perform at the 20th Annual Zulu Lundi Gras Monday, February 11 in Woldenberg Park, as will Kermit Ruffins and his Barbecue Swingers.

Mid-City’s Chickie Wah Wah hosts an Endymion Party with Cranston Clements all Saturday afternoon, February 9, and on post-parade Saturday night, the Circle Bar features James HallEagles of Death Metal guitarist Dave Catching and The Voice finalist Terry McDermott. Also on Saturday, Howlin’ Wolf presents a free show with Rebirth Brass Band and Papa Grows Funk, just one in a weekend of no-cover gigs (Rebirth also plays Friday, Dumpstaphunk performs Sunday and Hot 8 plays in the Den that evening. On Monday, George Porter Jr. and his Runnin’ Pardners share a free bill with Derek Freeman’s Smokers World.)

Bacchus Bash 2013, the annual daylong event leading up to the namesake parade Sunday, February 10, will feature performances by Chris Mule and the Perpetrators, J. Monque’d Blues Band, Flow Tribe and Chee Weez. The free indoor/outdoor block party is hosted at Metropolitan Nightclub and Generations Hall and begins at noon.

Come Sunday night, Trombone Shorty presents his own Bacchus Bash at Tipitina’s, featuring Partners N Crime with the Big Easy Bounce Band and Baby Boyz Brass Band, and over at One Eyed Jacks, indie rockers and (like Shorty) freshly minted Best of the Beat-ers the Revivalists perform — they’ll also play a free show at Howlin’ Wolf Thursday, February 7.

Harry Connick Jr.’s latest album, Smokey Mary, dropped February 5, days before the 20th anniversary of his Krewe of Orpheus. The star-studded parade rolls Uptown on Lundi Gras, Monday, February 11, and includes celebrity monarchs Connick, Jay Thomas, Gary Sinise, Mariska Hargitay, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Nick Cannon and The Imagination Movers. The Orpheuscapade gala follows.

Also on Monday, New Orleans rap superstar Juvenile will take the Republic stage, along with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, for the Fifth Annual Lundifest; Brownout, Yojimbo, Mannie Fresh and more perform upstairs at Maison; Dee-1, Hot 8 Brass Band and School of Business play Cafe Istanbul; Glen David Andrews brings the house down at d.b.a.; and Red Baraat will open for Galactic at Tip’s.

Click here and scroll all the way down for more on the Brooklyn-based Baraat, who will also headline the Blue Nile Sunday evening and play Tuesday afternoon at the Hi-Ho Lounge, along with the Fifth Annual Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra. We’ve also got a preview here.

And on Mardi Gras Day proper, the folks at the Backstreet Cultural Museum will host a breakfast with the North Side Skull and Bone Gang from 6 to 9 a.m., followed by a party in the street all day long with Skeletons, Indians, Baby Dolls and masqueraders, a DJ and more.